The Huron Carol

[ 1 ] December 20, 2008 |

The Huron Carol is a loose translation of the story of Jesus written by St. Jean de Brebeuf. Brebeuf was a Jesuit missionary in Quebec & Ontario, 1625 to 1649.

During his time in Canada he wrote Jesus Ahattonia (the Huron Carol) as a way to teach the Huron’s about the birth of Jesus Christ from the perspective of a culture that they would understand. It has since been translated into French and English and is sung over the holiday season in many Canadian churches.

The following translation is from the Hymn Book of the Anglican Church:

Twas in the moon of wintertime when all the birds had fled
That mighty Gitchi Manitou sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim and wondering hunters heard the hymn,
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

Within a lodge of broken bark the tender babe was found;
A ragged robe of rabbit skin enwrapped his beauty round
But as the hunter braves drew nigh
the angel song rang loud and high
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

The earliest moon of wintertime is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory on the helpless infant there.
The chiefs from far before him
knelt with gifts of fox and beaver pelt.
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

O children of the forest free,
O seed of Manitou
The holy Child of earth and heaven is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant boy
who brings you beauty peace and joy.
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

This version and it’s translation is from Bruce Cockburn’s 1993 Christmas CD. Bruce sang the carol in the Huron language:

Iesus Ahattonia

Ehstehn yayau deh tsaun we yisus ahattonnia
O na wateh wado:kwi nonnwa ‘ndasqua entai
ehnau sherskwa trivota nonnwa ‘ndi yaun rashata
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia
Ayoki onki hm-ashe eran yayeh raunnaun
yauntaun kanntatya hm-deh ‘ndyaun sehnsatoa ronnyaun
Waria hnawakweh tond Yosehf sataunn haronnyaun
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia
Asheh kaunnta horraskwa deh ha tirri gwames
Tishyaun ayau ha’ndeh ta aun hwa ashya a ha trreh
aundata:kwa Tishyaun yayaun yaun n-dehta
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia
Dau yishyeh sta atyaun errdautau ‘ndi Yisus
avwa tateh dn-deh Tishyaun stanshi teya wennyau
aha yaunna torrehntehn yataun katsyaun skehnn
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia
Eyeh kwata tehnaunnte aheh kwashyehn ayehn
kiyeh kwanaun aukwayaun dehtsaun we ‘ndeh adeh
tarrya diskwann aunkwe yishyehr eya ke naun sta
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia

Jesus, He is Born

Have courage, you who are human beings: Jesus, he is born.
The okie spirit who enslaved us has fled.
Don’t listen to him for he corrupts the spirits of our thoughts.
Jesus, he is born.
The okie spirits who live in the sky are coming with a message.
They’re coming to say, “Rejoice! Mary has given birth. Rejoice!”Jesus, he is born.
Three men of great authority have left for the place of his birth.
Tiscient, the star appearing over the horizon leads them there.
That star will walk first on the bath to guide them.
Jesus, he is born.
The star stopped not far from where Jesus was born.
Having found the place it said,”Come this way.”
Jesus, he is born.
As they entered and saw Jesus they praised his name.
They oiled his scalp many times, anointing his head with the oil of the sunflower.
Jesus, he is born.
They say, “Let us place his name in a position of honour.
Let us act reverently towards him for he comes to show us mercy.
It is the will of the spirits that you love us, Jesus,
and we wish that we may be adopted into your family.
Jesus, he is born

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Category: Historical Entities, Patriotic Patter

About the Author ()

I'm a Canadian who has lived in the United States since 1999. I love the beauty of the Canadian landscape and dream about travelling to EVERY country in the world so I can say, without a doubt, that Canada is the MOST BEAUTIFUL country in the world. Until I can accomplish this feat of huge financial proportions, I'll continue to appease myself by writing about Canada's many, MANY virtues. Google+

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  1. Ad says:

    Just a quickie – Jean de Brebeuf actually ministered and was martyred in what would later be known as Ontario – he was only in Quebec for a short period of time.

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